Ideological Department News

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

by Logan Holder

What is the principal task of the Marxist-Leninist? In general terms, our task is the advancement and successful achievement of the emancipation of the proletariat. In order for these efforts to be successful, our general strategy and political program should be centered solely on the basis of class struggle. It’s with this in mind that it’s necessary we reflect on the revolutionary nature of class struggle and thus the importance of differentiating symptomatic activism from that of genuine class struggle. So what is class struggle? Class struggle at its most fundamental level is the continual advancement of the revolutionary proletarian movement towards the seizure of state power and nothing else. The keyword in this conversation is class. So what is a class?

“Classes are large groups of people differing from each other by the place they occupy in a historically determined system of social production, by their relation (in most cases fixed and formulated by law) to the means of production, by their role in the social organisation of labour, and, consequently, by the dimensions of the share of social wealth of which they dispose and their mode of acquiring it” [1].

This means that the primary concern of working class is the struggle for socialism and it’s complete emancipation. Bluntly put, emancipation only occurs through socialist revolution which entails seizure of state power and the continued oversight of a vanguard party guided by scientific socialism. It should be clear that complete emancipation isn’t the result of treating the symptoms of capitalism’s contradictions, rather it is the result of eradicating capitalism in its entirety. Without state power and the continual suppression of bourgeois interests under a workers state there is no liberation of the proletariat. It’s in reflecting on these points that we should recognize that the continued advocacy of practices such as mutual aid, big tent coalition organizing and the equivocation of collaborating with democrats, social-democrats, and the “progressive” bourgeoisie as being genuine class struggle have muddied and distorted the true essence of what class struggle is. These opportunist trends fostered today talk of “stages” on the road to socialism or of expanding democracy as the first stage to socialism. In practice, these views postpone the struggle to overthrow capitalist exploitation, trap the labor movement in only struggling for better conditions, and negate the orientation of the struggle to radicalize the labor movement, to regroup it, and concentrate the social forces which have an interest in confronting the monopolies [2]. As Lenin advised, it is the objective situation, independent of motives or intentions that determines the fate and significance of tactics or, in general, the trend of a given party or group [3]. It’s as a result of the aforementioned that we are faced with the task of combating mistaken conceptions of class struggle and regrouping our forces amongst all sectors of the working-class along the lines of the Bolshevik stratagem. What this regrouping of our forces ultimately entails is an in depth analysis of our own political programs and the overarching political orientation that guides us.

As Marxist-Leninists, we recognize that there is no “third way” or a “step” between the bourgeois state and the achievement of socialism within our analysis. The historical model and methods of the Bolshevik revolution and the subsequent revolutions of the 20th century are a testament of the effectiveness of the Bolshevik model, and yet today we are faced with ideological forces that would profess theoretical positions that actively lead to the liquidation of the communist party and the safeguarding of bourgeois interests under the guise of pedantic progressive rhetoric. How is it that many self-proclaimed communist have come to associate class struggle with the charitable distribution of goods, rather than the complete advocation of seizing the means of production from the exploiting classes to the exploited working class? How is it that we’ve become so enamored with the advocacy of more democratic bourgeois institutions that we inevitably find ourselves equating progressive bourgeois democracies with that of acceptable socialist endgames? It’s in these periods of ideological demarcation that communists must draw lines in the sand with those whom hold affinities towards bourgeois sustaining ideologies.

Kautsky and Bernstein together in 1910. Both argued for reforms of capitalism and the gradual reformist transformation of society.

As comrade Lenin said “It is the duty of the revolution to put an end to compromise, and to put an end to compromise means taking the path of socialist revolution.” The historical path to socialism has been paved and the necessity of its reestablishment on the world stage is necessary for the progressive advancement of human society. Marxist-Leninists recognize the practical path to socialism is the path laid out in the Bolshevik model. It’s in this model that we draw from the correct and incorrect applications of its experiences. It’s through this model that we must constantly analyze ourselves and rectify both left and right deviations that surface within our organizing bodies and political activity.

The core of our activity and political orientation will always be militant class struggle for the sake of socialist revolution as laid out by the great October socialist revolution of 1917. Class struggle that is void of the call for socialist revolution and the inadvertent sustainment of bourgeois institutions is antithetical to the exploited and toiling masses of the workers of the world. We must struggle against these mistaken ideas. We must struggle against the idea that progressive rhetoric and the promises of a more progressive capitalism are satisfactory ends for the working class. No state, no matter how democratic or progressive it may claim to be, can ever be representative of the workers interests so long as the bourgeoisie maintain that state power. This is why we must take into account our duty as the working class in the overthrow of the bourgeois state in the charting of the course for a new society. The bourgeois state cannot change its class nature and cannot be used in favour of the working class and the poor popular strata. The working class must take advantage of any gains- democratic rights acquired as a result of the class struggle- but not by restricting its
aims to the improvement and the democratization of the bourgeois state, but in the direction of organizing the struggle in order to overthrow bourgeois power. The bourgeois state is a state of the capitalists in order to secure their interests. In its place the working class must build its own state, the dictatorship of the proletariat. And the overthrow
of the bourgeois state is not possible without violence, without the proletarian, socialist revolution [4].

[1] Vladimir I. Lenin: ‘A Great Beginning: Heroism of the Workers in the Rear: ‘Communist Subbotniks’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 29; Moscow; 1965; p. 421.

[2] Criticism of certain contemporary opportunist views on the state. Positions of the International Relations Section of the CC of the KKE at the 11th Annual Conference “V.I. Lenin, The October Revolution and the Contemporary World”.

[3] Vladimir I. Lenin: “Word and Deed” in: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, p. 262 -265.

[4] Truth and Lies About Socialism. Issue 2: On the socialist power. Author: Central Council of the KNE